Happy 38th Anniversary Roe v. Wade

Today marks the 38th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision recognizing a women’s right to choose an abortion according to her conscience and without interference from the government.

During the past 38 years, the Republican party, with help from some conservative democrats have worked to have this important decision overturned.   By stacking the Supreme Court with conservative activist judges, the only thing needed to achieve this goal is one more judge who cherishes conservative ideology more than the constitution and a model case.

Within the realm of politics, conservatives within the Republican and Democratic parties have whittled away at Roe vs. Wade.  The Hyde Amendment restricted the use of Federal funding for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother is at risk.

These days, the Tea Party has taken the so called pro life movement to the extreme that reduces women to state controlled incubators.

Regardless of whether a pregnancy puts a woman’s life at risk, and forcing victims of rape and incest to carry their rapist’s child, the zygote’s existence is supreme to the life of the woman in the eyes of the Tea Party

The Republican Party’s mantra of late is small government.  Yet, the reality is their policies seek to make women’s uteri wards of the state.

In 2011,  Naral notes 225 of 435 members of the House of Representatives voted for every proposed measure against choice, compared to the 170 members who voted against every anti-choice proposal.

The list of anti-choice legislation at the Federal and State levels is exhaustive.  Anti choice measures that passed at the Federal level during 2011 include:

H.R. 358 which allows hospital to deny abortions to women who face a high risk of death if forced to continue the pregnancy.

H.R. 3 requires victims of rape who choose abortion to provide evidence of their assault to IRS agents.

2011 was also the year that Congress sought to ban all funding to Planned Parenthood, denying impoverished women access to reproductive health, most notably treatment for STDs and cancer screenings.

Last year that anti-choice advocates pushed for a so called personhood amendment that was so extreme even conservative Mississippi rejected it.  Undeterred, personhoodusa moved on to other states, such as Kansas, where they attempt to indoctrinate people into believing women are merely incubators, but zygotes should be recognized as people under the constitution.

Even Miscarriages are being criminalized.

Fifteen year old Rennie Gibbs was charged with murder when her baby was still born. As Alternet reported last July:

When prosecutors discovered that she had a cocaine habit – though there is no evidence that drug abuse had anything to do with the baby’s death – they charged her with the “depraved-heart murder” of her child, which carries a mandatory life sentence.

Amanda Kimbrough was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the death of her 19 minuted old baby.

Like Rennie Gibbs, Ms. Kimbrough had a drug dependancy.

During her pregnancy, the fetus was diagnosed with Downs Syndrome and doctors asked her to consider having the pregnancy terminated.  Ms. Kimbrough, who ironically is pro-life, opted to continue the pregnancy. The baby died 19 minutes after birth. Six months later, Kimbrough was charged under Alabama’s “chemical endangerment” law.

As reported by the ACLU:

Like so many other women in Alabama who were charged under this statute, Ms. Kimbrough was prosecuted not because she brought a child into a meth lab, but because she tried to continue her pregnancy and give birth to her son, even though she was suffering from a drug dependency.

The attack on women’s reproductive rights doesn’t end with efforts to ban abortion.  The so called “pro-life” zealots also want to ban contraceptives.  Yet, on the eve of Roe v. Wade’s 10th anniversary, the Obama administration delivered a blow to the anti Roe v. Wade forces.

Despite extensive lobbying from U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops  and other organizations, the Obama administration announced on Friday that religious affiliated schools and hospitals would sill be required o provide female employees with healthcare coverage for contraceptives.

In a statement, the Department of Health and Human Services said:

Today the department is announcing that the final rule on preventive health services will ensure that women with health insurance coverage will have access to the full range of the Institute of Medicine’s recommended preventive services, including all FDA -approved forms of contraception.  Women will not have to forego these services because of expensive co-pays or deductibles, or because an insurance plan doesn’t include contraceptive services. This rule is consistent with the laws in a majority of states which already require contraception coverage in health plans, and includes the exemption in the interim final rule allowing certain religious organizations not to provide contraception coverage. Beginning August 1, 2012, most new and renewed health plans will be required to cover these services without cost sharing for women across the country.

By all indications, the remaining Candidates for the Republican nomination would continue the assault on Roe v. Wade with vigor.

Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum signed a so called personhood pledge. While Mitt Romney did not sign the pledge, he does support a constitutional ban on abortion. As politico reported last November:

Romney’s current position? He supports, per spokeswoman Gail Gitcho, “a Human Life Amendment that overturns Roe vs. Wade and sends the issue back to the states” — which sounds like something short of a federal abortion ban.

“Mitt Romney is pro-life, and as he has said previously, he is supportive of efforts to ensure recognition that life begins at conception. He believes these matters should be left up to states to decide,” she said.

The Guardian’s analysis reflects the extent to which the anti-choice extremists have gone in their attack on Roe v. Wade.  For example, foetal homicide laws, originally established to protect pregnant women and their fetuses from domestic abuse are now being used against women who have had miscarriages.

At least 38 of the 50 states across America have introduced foetal homicide laws that were intended to protect pregnant women and their unborn children from violent attacks by third parties – usually abusive male partners – but are increasingly being turned by renegade prosecutors against the women themselves.

As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we are mindful of its importance in bringing an end to the days of the back allies and the coat hangers.  We are mindful that the dark forces who seek to overturn this landmark decision, will not really achieve their objective to “ban” abortion.

They would only put more women’s lives at risk, be it in back allies or as the result of a life threatening pregnancy.  They would increased poverty and more hungry children under the pretense of claiming to be pro-life.

Today we celebrate a decision coming from a Supreme Court in which the first priority was interpreting the constitution.  Tomorrow we continue the struggle against those who put ideology first and life second.


Image from Naral

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